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With These Loopholes, Trump Can Change Trade Almost Entirely on His Own

If Donald Trump wants to deliver on his potentially significant changes to trade, there’s quite a lot he can do without consulting Congress much at all.

Since taking office, the president has floated the idea of a blanket tax on imports from Mexico and China (two nations Trump has emphasized for having the largest trade deficits with the U.S.), begun the process of renegotiating NAFTA and cleared the Trans-Pacific Partnership off his desk from day one.

And little of these moves, it seems, has been made with much prior consultation, nor have they complied with the more conventional ways of handling trade.

“There seems to be this mentality on the Hill that we’re plowing ahead no matter what,” said Matt Priest, president of the Footwear Retailers and Distributors of America. “We constantly hear the president’s style is to toss a grenade in the middle of the group, get everyone off kilter and then go in and level the playing field.”

If Trump is throwing grenades, mulling a potential 20 percent tax on all imports from Mexico (despite NAFTA) and an even more punitive potential 45 percent tax on goods coming from China, were two that certainly served to get the global trade community off kilter. Relations with Mexico, one of the United States’ biggest trading partners, have grown increasingly strained in recent weeks, and China has threatened to commence a trade war, possibly imposing retaliatory tariffs on the U.S. if Trump’s promises pan out.

Read more at Sourcing Journal.